Repsol Honda rider heads up the front row ahead of Crutchlow and Lorenzo
Marc Marquez sealed his 12th pole position of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship during today’s qualifying for the Tissot Australian Grand Prix with the Repsol Honda rider dominating Q2 at Philip Island while Cal Crutchlow snatched his first ever front-row start for the Ducati Team with Jorge Lorenzo securing the final starting place on the front row.
We expect a hard-fought race tomorrow. It will be difficult to stop both Jorge and Valentino.
The unpredictable weather conditions at the Philip Island circuit near Melbourne once again threatened to torment the riders as Q2 approached with light rain falling just before the 15-minute session began. However the rain soon subsided allowing the schedule to continue undisturbed and Marquez took no time in setting the benchmark at the top of the timings and eventually setting the pole lap of 1m 28.408s.
Crutchlow found something extra today on his Ducati Team machine and made the most of it to snatch a second place start with the British rider edging out Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo by just .008s. Bradley Smith heads up the second row for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 while Dani Pedrosa had to fight through Q1 to make it into the pole shootout and the Spaniard pushed hard to secure his start from fifth and starting alongside his fellow countryman is Aleix Espargaro on the NGM Forward Racing machine.
The third row sees Andrea Iannone leading the way for the Pramac Racing team and the Italian’s best lap of 1m 28.887s was enough to start ahead of Movistar Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi who starts from eight place ahead of Pol Espargaro for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team with his best time of 1m 28.968s. The final place in the top ten went to Andrea Dovizioso and the Ducati Team while the last two places in Q2 were filled by Stefan Bradl in 11th for the LCR Honda team and the Drive M7 Aspar machine of Hiroshi Aoyama who made it through from Q1.
Marquez was very happy with his improvements in his bike’s set up after a difficult first day. He said, "Today I felt pretty good and that's important, because we found it hard yesterday and I was a bit too far off the pace. We improved a lot today and were riding more comfortably. We expect a hard-fought race tomorrow, but I just have to enjoy it. Above all, it will be difficult to stop both Jorge and Valentino, who seem to have the fastest race pace. My focus on track and ambition are the same as ever and we will try to be at the front, but also over the weekend we have been trying different things out with next season in mind.”
Crutchlow thrilled with front row start - Lorenzo happy to start ahead of Rossi and Pedrosa
Crutchlow was delighted with his front row start after pushing hard at the start of Q2. Speaking afterwards he said, “I’m really pleased with the lap time we achieved in the end and second position is great for Ducati: I think we deserved that. It was a decision made at the start of qualifying to go out and push immediately with the ‘rain-ish’ conditions, and I set a good time. Then I changed tyres and went out again and set my best time! Tomorrow I’m sure it’s going to be a long and tough race.
Phillip Island is a challenging circuit because the conditions can change every lap. I believe that tomorrow’s race start at 4 pm will make things more difficult because of the cooler temperatures. Hopefully we can use the asymmetric tire in the front and the same as the other guys in the rear.” Crutchlow added.
Lorenzo is content with a front row start and that he is starting ahead of Pedrosa and teammate Rossi who are all fighting for second place in this year’s World Championship. He said, “I’m pleased because it’s always good to be on the front row. Obviously I wanted to take pole position, but my lap was not fast enough. Being on the first row is always positive and to have Rossi and Pedrosa in second and third row is really good.
During Q1 I was a little bit nervous because from the garage I saw spits of rain on the track and we don’t like to ride in those conditions, but we were lucky. The rain stopped before Q2 and we could ride a normal session and push at the maximum. There are still some corners in which I’m not quite satisfied with the set up of the bike. We will try to modify some things for the warm-up tomorrow.” Lorenzo added.